Sunday, January 04, 2009

Wish List for 2009

Before last night, I felt very confident about the eventual outcome of this season. Is it time to rethink our expectations? Not quite. If we can lock up these goals by the end of the year, few will remember the disappointing loss to begin '09.
  1. Defend the JACC- In the frustration of yesterday, our elevation to the longest current home winning streak was overlooked. This was well-earned and worth celebrating. Of course, a loss Monday would end the streak and add to our recent frustrations, but I hope the team and fans understand what has been accomplished over the last three years. It is highly unlikely that we will see this much sustained success at home ever again.
  2. Finish Top Four in the League- With the conference tournament, it is very important to earn a spot near the top of the standings at the end of the year. The exact place, however, is less important. Let's bounce back and get the tourney bye that has been ours the last two seasons.
  3. Seriously Compete in the BET- The Irish have never performed well in Madison Square Garden (see Saturday), but this is our best chance to really make a run for the title. One-and-done would give the players a poor taste in their mouths going into the NCAA Tournament. Let's see if we can win the Big East, however unlikely the possibility, because you don't know when we'll get another good chance.
  4. Sweet Sixteen or Bust- Regardless of what you feel about the ceiling of this team, I think it's fair to expect a second round win in the Tournament. It's something that has happened only twice since the 64 team format started (1987 and 2003), with no Irish team advancing past the third round. If this team is one of the best ND squads in the past 20 years, it needs to make that second weekend. Anything else is cake.
Those are the four factors on how this season will be judged. Some are more likely than others (winning the BET is a bit of a pipe dream). Some are more important than others (a strong NCAA showing cures all ills). Regardless of how poorly the team played yesterday and what happens in the future, I believe these are attainable. Let's get it done.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Everybodyt loses conference games that they shouldn't. My sights are still set on top two in league play and/or conference tourney with a final four run in the NCAA.

Am I delusional? Maybe.

Am I drunk? Probably.

But dammit it's now often that I can legitimately consider any of these things possibilities. I'll love this team no matter what but there's a whole lotta hoops to be played and I really believe this team has the talent, work ethic, and chemistry to do some good things.

Let's defend that streak tonight.